Diego Perotti gave Roma a 2-1 win over Sampdoria to close on the top four, but the woodwork rescued them in stoppages.
The Giallorossi were seeking a third straight win and had a great chance to close within a point of fourth-placed Inter, two from Fiorentina in third. Edin Dzeko was only fit for the bench, while Daniele De Rossi, Vasilis Torosidis, Norbert Gyomber and suspended Radja Nainggolan missed out. The visitors were without Jacopo Sala, Lorenzo De Silvestri, Carlos Carbonero and banned Modibo Diakite’.
Per Moisander had a problem in the warm-up, so Edgar Barreto stepped in and Samp moved to four at the back.
Miralem Pjanic nodded a great chance wide after springing the offside trap on Alessandro Florenzi’s assist, while Antonio Rudiger spun to turn wide, but Samp threatened on the counter from a Roma corner and Douglas Maicon sprinted back to put Luis Muriel off.
Emiliano Viviano smothered a Pjanic header from Diego Perotti’s cross, but Stephan El Shaarawy ballooned over from 12 yards on a Mohamed Salah pull-back.
Florenzi came sliding in a second too late to meet Maicon’s splendid cross and Roma had penalty appeals for a Barreto handball.
Joaquin Correa was booked for simulation, more for the blood-curdling scream than the fall itself, in a tussle with Rudiger. Roma’s control on the game slipped as the tempo dropped towards half-time.
However, with the last kick of the half, the hosts finally found a breakthrough. On the counter El Shaarawy’s shot took a deflection to loop into the air, turning into an assist for Florenzi to nod home from seven yards.
Straight after the restart it was 2-0, as El Shaarawy with his back to goal on the edge of the box flicked up a pass for Perotti’s splendid volley into the near top corner. It was the ex-Genoa man’s first goal in a Giallorossi jersey and the two January buys combined again.
Pjanic drilled inches wide, but Samp got back into it when Fernando’s snapshot from outside the area took a deflection off Pjanic to surprise Wojciech Szczesny.
Edin Dzeko was introduced to a warm welcome and chanting of support from Roma fans, despite his recent difficulties in front of goal.
El Shaarawy blasted just past the far post, while Fabio Quagliarella had a shot charged down and Salah hesitated too long in setting up Dzeko on the counter.
It remained open and on 88 minutes Szczesny had to rush off his line and make himself as big as possible to stop Antonio Cassano scoring after a give and go with Quagliarella.
Deep into stoppages a corner found Mattia Cassani's volley from eight yards, which bounced off the underside of the crossbar. Roma breathed a sigh of relief at the end of their third consecutive victory.
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